The purpose was to not only showcase the new Fox Engine, but to show you that Kojima can really scare the poop out of you. As Kojima stated at GamesCom, “the goal isn’t to make you pee your pants, it’s to make you shit yourself.” I don’t normally play a lot of horror titles, but the ones I do play there are certain perks that work and then there are jump scares. Jump scares are fun, but when you don’t have the added enviroment, they get dull.
So let’s explain why PT works so well. It doesn’t focus on the jump scare. The entire time you are walking through this small little house, you expect it. You feel it coming, and you have this feeling for a good few minutes, then the feeling drops…. nothing happens. You see a darkly lit hallway and you expect doom when you go through it, nothing happens. Yet the next hallway is better lit, you feel safe under the light, and you start to get a little brave and BAM! You just got possessed by one of the creepiest girls in gaming. The game basically keeps scaring you and keeps twisting your head up so that you freak out. You start begging for the jump scare to finally happen so you can just carry on with your goal. It doesn’t help that the story around it is very dark and twisted by itself.
I found the jump scare is so random that I somehow triggered it several times in a row. I had sat in a spot as someone talked to me, picked it back up, and moved. I saw the scare off to the side, then again in the distance, looked up and BAM it was there. This somehow got me to jump and I turned quickly only for it to happen again. I jumped so bad here that I set the controller down and took a break. I normally power through horror games no problem, but something about this one gets in your head.
Yet why do I return? It’s because the game throws a puzzle at you. You need to find clues in the haunted walls, and put pieces of a puzzle together. Something about it simply makes you want to figure it out. According to Kojima it was supposed to take people “at least a week” to figure it out. Yet thanks to game forums and lets-play streams, people put their heads together and got it done.
The game opens up with you in a house, talking to you in a mysterious way. Basically it’s asking what is real, how do you know it’s real, what is truth? This by itself sets up what the demo is because the game quickly throws you into a loop of realities. Walking through a door brings you back to the same location, but each time it slowly changes. At one point it’s the same location, but it morphs to make you go in circles. I found the concept fascinating. Each loop has something new to offer and some new easter egg to find.
The game throws very tiny clues at you the entire time, but never really tells you what you are looking for or doing, or so you think! If you are not lucky enough to stumble across something, you could be at it for hours. Kojima also noted he “toned the game down” because he wanted people to believe the game was from an indie studio. This explains the jaggies on certain area’s, and some toned down segments. Yet the Fox Engine still looks glorious!
The cool thing about the demo is that it’s basically a 4D title. The game utilizes all sorts of features from the PS4, including the microphone. (Slight spoiler) Yes, you need to talk to the ghost! (End spoiler) Even cooler is the fact Kojima wanted a combined effort and people to communicate with each other to figure it out, utilizing social features of the PS4. A lot of the game hints are in different languages. So far what I’ve found is Japanese, German, and Swedish.
There are pieces of a puzzle you need to find, and then a certain puzzle you need to listen to complete. I have watched several streams and talked on many boards about figuring the last segment out, and every single person seems to have a new solution. While covering GamesCom news I had one streamer playing for several hours, he did every single thing you could do in this stage (assuming) and even waited for around a half hour to “hear the second clue” and yet nothing was triggering. He zoomed, clicked, swiped, everything you could do to every object and nothing happened. People on major forums are trying to figure out what the exact sequence is, but so far are having little luck. A few are “confirming” a series of events, but others are stating the series doesn’t work.
I would suggest that there are certain segments that have trouble triggering. I found a few areas where I knew what to trigger, but it wouldn’t budge. Looking through the peephole for example, you have to be pretty well lined up to make it work. The game takes a lot of patience and the details are very finite, so people will struggle to figure it out entirely.It’s basically a small teaser, so we are playing a very tiny part of the game and trying to milk it for what it’s worth. Take this segment and throw it into a larger game? Now it becomes more godly. Thinking about it though, if these details were not finite, the demo would last maybe 20 minutes at most.
Overall it is seriously fascinating to see this. The game has so many hidden easter eggs at every turn and so many finite details that not everyone has figured out every little aspect of it. It’s one of those things where Kojima will come out a month down the road and go “nobody found this!” The environment and horror feel to this game is just insane though. It’s been a long time in both movies and video games to see something so well done. And while the teaser is rather short, you still feel as though you are playing a big story, with hidden clues to figure out pieces of it. I can only imagine how brilliant a full game based on this will be.
The game is fully interactive with so many solutions running through it’s veins. If something I said doesn’t align with your experience, don’t get mad, be happy that the game is just that awesome!